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Delayed Changes to Parking will be Discussed

25 November 2020

A line of parked cars in a public car park

South Hams District Council promised that they would only increase parking charges at their carparks once in the 4-year term of the current Council. That one off increase was meant to begin this financial year, after a public consultation.

However, they had no idea at the time that the world would be facing a global pandemic.

As a consequence of the pandemic, South Hams District Council delayed the public consultation and the proposed implementation of a 4% increase at their Council owned car parks.

Originally, the proposed increase would have come into force this financial year (2020/2021). Instead, the Council decided to delay the consultation on the proposals so they would not take place when communities were battling the first wave of the COVID crisis.

Officers have now consulted with Town and Parish Councils, reviewing the parking charges and needs of individual communities.  The next step will be a public consultation.

When South Hams Executive meet on 3rd December, the proposed changes will be considered with a recommendation for the public consultation to take place in January.  If the Council decide to progress these proposals, the changes will come into effect from the 1st April 2021.

If agreed, this will be the first price increase at the Council owned car parks since July 2018, when fees were increased by 2%. It will also comply with the Council's previous decision to only raise parking charges once in the current political term (til 2023) and by less than predicted inflation.

Cllr Keith Baldry, South Hams District Council's Executive Member for the Environment said: "Although not always popular, increased parking charges allows us to continue to provide a parking services to our residents and support the public spaces around it."

"Our officers have been talking with our town and parish councils to find sensible solutions and I now welcome the discussion on 3rd December with the rest of the Executive."

Alongside this discussion, when the Executive meet on 3rd December, they will also have a report with the findings of the Council's Parking Permit Review. 

This report is being brought before the Executive after months of public consultation.  South Hams currently has 2863 active parking permits of which only 10% responded to the consultation. The low overall response suggests the majority of local people understand the need for change.

The proposed changes include a clear pricing structure for the permits for each town, whilst maintaining a significant discount for permit holders. The permit price is proposed to provide an 80% discount to holders, based on a 5 day a week ticket bought over 48 weeks of the year.

So, if you bought a parking permit and parked every day of the week in a council owned car park, you would only be paying for the equivalent of one day at the pay and display price.

Cllr Keith Baldry  said: "We need a clearer, more transparent scheme to enable residents to see what they are paying for and the discount they get when purchasing a permit.

"If approved these proposals simplify the payment structure and link permits to the all day pay and display charge."

"There is a balance to be struck in every town, to provide spaces for people to park for work, alongside available spaces for day visitors and shoppers.

"We also need to think about our commitment to the Climate Change and Biodiversity plan and encourage commuters to share lifts, use alternative modes of transport and other options such as park and ride schemes to reduce the number of vehicles in the centre of our busy towns."

South Hams District Council continue to hold Council meetings virtually to enable them to complete essential Council business. The public can watch meetings via YouTube, or on the Council's Engagement Portal.

Watch the Executive meeting on 3 December 2020 live here.
View the reports for the Executive here.

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